Vegas Bracketology 2.0.14

Considering the outpouring of support (disdain is a synonym for support) for the first installment of Vegas Bracketology, I’m sure all of our subsequent versions will continue to elicit strong responses from college basketball enthusiasts.  For those asking if I was on drugs seeding Iowa and Louisville on the top line the answer is no however both teams fell off the top seed line despite producing double digit wins (and covers) over the weekend.  That’s the difference between our poll and the mainstream media: every win isn’t created equally meaning margin of victory (in relation to the pointspread) goes a long way and teams don’t get to stay put just by winning games.  This poll is designed to do one thing and one thing only: give you an indication of who would be favored over who on a neutral court.  All that crap about “most deserving” and “resume building wins” doesn’t apply here.

Wins are good; covering and exceeding Vegas expectations = better.  The perfect example of a team losing, yet improving their stock this weekend was VCU.  Logically the question becomes how is this possible considering VCU lost to St Louis yet jumped the Billikens in the poll.  Reason for this happening is more straightforward than you'd think:  SLU closed as a 5.5 pt favorite for the game against the Rams.  The Billikens won but failed to cover meaning they actually underperformed compared to oddsmakers expectations while VCU playing a game closer than anticipated meant their overall profile needed to be upgraded.

Iowa was another team that showed strong against Penn State this weekend but the Hawkeyes still fell a few slots in our rankings given how teams in their competitive set performed.  Kentucky and Villanova, two very good basketball teams, took it on the chin losing valuable real estate in the poll after failing to cover against Florida and Creighton respectively.  Rather than just rattle off the incliners and decliners here is how the protected seeds changed in just a few short days.  When reviewing these rankings remember they don’t account for match-up issues certain teams would encounter against one another just who would find themselves favored even if by the slimmest of margins.

Don’t overlook the fact that the margin separating the top team in the land, Florida, from #18 Michigan State is a grand total of 4.5 points...for now.  There's a razor thin margin between all of these top ranked teams and one odd result at the top of the leader board can change the way Vegas views these teams over night. 

This bracket is…

*Illustrative of how Vegas ranks the 36 best at large teams and 32 automatic qualifiers

*Expected to pay merit to a team's overall power profile, not how “deserving” they are of a birth in the dance

*Inclined to piss people off if they are accustomed to watching college basketball as a fan rather than an oddsmaker expecting to see a more customary bracket.

This bracket isn’t…

*meant to mirror the projected field of other sites beyond anything more than having the same number of teams included

*Compelled to look at win/loss records as a useful determinante of team strength

*Worried about a 12 beating a 5 seed because upsets do happen and in our case, it would be an actual upset rather than improperly seeded teams.

*A personal vendetta against the little guy. San Diego St and Wichita are both talented teams and will have their chance to compete but anyone who thinks they deserve a #1 seed implies they’d be favored over just about everyone which isn’t the case.

Field of 68

Power Numbers Podcast

*Automatic qualifiers conferences listed

#1 Florida (SEC) vs #16 Charleston Southern (Big South) / Southern (SWAC)
#2 Villanova vs #15 Stephen F Austin (Southland)
#3 Virginia vs #14 Toledo (MAC)
#4 Wichita St (MVC) vs #13 UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
#5 Michigan vs #12 Louisiana Tech (C-USA) / UW Green Bay (Horizon)
#6 Cincinnati vs #11 UMASS
#7 St Louis vs #10 Marquette
#8 Oregon vs #9 Kansas St

#1 Syracuse (ACC) vs #16 Weber St (Big Sky) / Robert Morris (NEC)
#2 Arizona (Pac 12) vs #15 Delaware (CAA)
#3 Kansas (Big XII) vs #14 Vermont (America East)
#4 Kentucky vs #13 North Dakota St (Summit)
#5 Michigan St vs #12 St John's / Harvard (Ivy)
#6 San Diego St (MWC) vs #11 New Mexico
#7 SMU vs #10 Texas
#8 Minnesota vs #9 Florida St

#1 Duke vs #16 Davidson (Southern)
#2 Iowa (Big Ten) vs #15 Belmont (OVC)
#3 Ohio St vs #14 Georgia St (Sun Belt)
#4 Pittsburgh vs #13 Mercer (A-Sun)
#5 Uconn vs #12 BYU
#6 VCU (A-10) vs #11 Maryland
#7 Memphis vs #10 Missouri
#8 Arizona St vs #9 California

#1 Creighton (Big East) vs #16 NC Central (MEAC)
#2 Louisville (AAC) vs #15 Boston University (Patriot)
#3 Wisconsin vs #14 Iona (MAAC)
#4 UCLA vs #13 New Mexico St (WAC)
#5 UNC vs #12 Arkansas
#6 Iowa St vs #11 Oklahoma
#7 Gonzaga (WCC) vs #10 Xavier
#8 Tennessee vs #9 Stanford

First 4 out

George Washington
West Virginia

Written by
Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.